On Wednesday evening, the City of Bakersfield hosted a community meeting where they asked residents to help them identify deficiencies along the Monitor Street corridor and to suggest improvements they would like to see.
The Monitor Street corridor is 2.8 miles long and consists of nine schools, six signalized intersections, 20 bus stops, 14-foot travel lanes, 13-foot shared bike and parking lane, and is primarily residential.
This meeting is part of the Active Transportation Improvements Project (ATIP). It aims to transform Monitor Street into a safer corridor for all users, including the most vulnerable — school-aged students.
This transformation will implement improvements such as traffic calming, enhanced pedestrian crossings, improved signage and lighting, more resilient pavement markings, ADA, median, and sidewalk modifications.
Some current issues along the corridor that were pointed out during the City’s presentation on this project were:
- School pick-up and drop-off
- Middle of the lane drop-offs
- Double parking
- Wide streets/Travel lanes
- Active transportation
- Lack of shade
- Marked crossings were a half-mile apart
- Shared parking and bike lanes
- Between October 2016 to September 2023 there were 194 collisions
During the meeting, the Greenfield Walking Group provided a presentation on the work they’ve been doing in the area. During this presentation, youth who work with the organization spoke about issues they’ve seen along this corridor and problems that they hope to see get fixed with this project.
“Youth in South Bakersfield face numerous issues when they walk to school, such as missing sidewalks, overfilled roads when it rains, and fast traffic that puts students at risk of getting hit,” was written in a flyer provided by the Greenfield Walking Group. “This leads to more parents driving their children to school in order to avoid these problems; however, this ultimately increases traffic and safety concerns, on top of worsening the air pollution from vehicles.”
During their presentation, it was shared that the Greenfield Walking Group, All Children Thrive (ACT), and Vision y Compromiso were able to conduct QuickCapture Surveys which showed that 13 walking routes near the Greenfield/Wible neighborhoods are unsafe. These surveys also revealed that, within one day, there were 16 separate incidents where high school students were forced to walk within feet of oncoming traffic.
During the meeting, the City had various activities laid out for community members to participate in and provide input on. Some of these activities included a map of the entire corridor and residents were instructed to comment on specifically on problem areas and provide suggestions on things they’d like to see improved and changed.
Another activity allowed residents to create their own designs on changes they’d like to see in the area, but the City also provided a board of examples of some designs they already have in mind.
These designs included:
- One-way protected bike lane
- Curb bulb-outs
- Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacon
- Two-way cycle track
- Pedestrian lighting
- Ribbon sidewalks
- Bus stop improvements
- Pedestrian Hybrid Beacon
- Midblock Crosswalks
- Bus bulbs
- Raised intersections (only applies to locations north of White Lane)
This project is still in the early stages of its schedule, having begun in Fall 2023 and has an expected construction start date of Summer 2026.